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1. Wild Things Blog Tour: Guest Blog Post by Betsy Bird

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I have a very special guest on my blog today: Betsy Bird, one of my favorite kidlit bloggers! Her passion for kidlit and her excellent blog posts are some of the reasons I decided to start blogging about kidlit and YA lit!

Betsy has written a book with her fellow American kidlit bloggers, the late Peter Sieruta and Julie Danielson. (Julie is also one of my favorite kidlit bloggers, and one of my favorite people in the whole wide world.) There aren't physical copies of Wild Things in the Philippines yet, but if you click here, us Philippine readers can get Kindle editions. Wild Things is a behind-the-scenes look at the American children's book industry. A *naughty* behind-the-scenes look. The book *is* about "acts of mischief in children's literature." :D

Betsy, thank you so much for visiting Into the Wardrobe. Dear readers, Betsy's guest blog post is below. Please check Into the Wardrobe again later this week for my review of Wild Things!    


You Know When They Say Winning the Lottery is the Worst Thing That Can Happen to You? 
It’s True.  
By Betsy Bird

You may have seen YA author John Green allude to this recently. Not too long ago he created this lovely little Mental Floss video called 47 Charming Facts AboutChildren’s Books. At around 2:53 you’ll hear John talk about the great Margaret Wise Brown. John points out that Ms. Brown almost randomly left the rights to her classic picture book Goodnight Moon to the neighbor kid next door. Literally. The boy next door. But this being a quick video John doesn’t exactly go into any detail. Curious about why exactly Margaret did that and what the effect was on the kid? In Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature (written by myself, Julie Danielson, and the late Peter Sieruta) we looked into the story and here’s what we found. 

The fact of the matter is that Ms. Brown was lovely, vivacious, and died tragically young. As recounted in our book, she was just 42 when she died of an embolism. In fact, it was the cute little can-can kicks she did for her doctor to show how great she was feeling that ultimately did the deed. 

Few perfectly healthy 42-year-olds expect to be dead at any moment, so we should take Margaret’s will with a grain of salt. She apparently changed it more than once and had she lived she probably wouldn’t have kept it the same for very long. Nonetheless, and for whatever reason, she did indeed leave the rights to what would become her greatest work to Albert Clarke, her 9-year-old neighbor. 

Weird? Not as much as you might think. See, the fact of the matter is that Goodnight Moon wasn’t really a hit in Margaret’s lifetime. It did okay but it took some time for the book to gain any ground in the cultural mindset. So when she granted Arthur the rights it wasn’t supposed to be any great shakes. 

Next thing he knows, the kid’s a millionaire. Fabulous, right? Apparently not. Though it might be a bit of a stretch to say it this way, money ruined Arthur. But for the details of how exactly he was ruined I’m afraid you’re just going to have to read our book. Sorry about that, but trust me when I say that I hope John Green learns a lesson or two from Margaret’s story. The next time he feels like leaving the rights to, say, An Abundance of Katherines to little Johnny down the street as a nice gesture, maybe he should think again. Trust me. Little Johnny will be just fine without the cash.

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2. Call for Papers: Children's Rights and Children's Literature

CALL FOR PAPERS

CHILDREN'S RIGHTS and CHILDREN'S LITERATURE

Special Issue of The Lion and the Unicorn

Guest Editors:
Lara Saguisag, College of Staten Island-City University of New York
Matthew B. Prickett, Rutgers University-Camden

We are seeking papers that investigate the intersections between the histories, theories, and practices of children's rights and children's literature. In response to the ratification of the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN-CRC) in 1989, advocates and scholars have debated the necessity and revealed the complexity of defining and implementing children's rights across the globe. Critical discourse on children's rights, however, has not yet fully examined the role that children's literature plays in shaping, promoting, implementing and interrogating children's rights. This special issue invites scholars to explore the connections between the institutions of children's rights and children's literature.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

Depictions of young people's political and/or economic participation in children's and young adult literature
Literary representations of child soldiers, child laborers, child sex workers and other young people whose rights are deemed violated
The role of children's literature in fulfilling young people's rights (such as the right to education and the right to leisure)
The relationships between charters on human and children's rights (such as the 1930 White House Convention Children's Charter, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1989 United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child) and twentieth-century children's literature
How historical fiction and non-fiction about other rights movements (women's rights, gay rights, Civil Rights, labor rights, immigrant rights, etc. ) attempt to shape young readers' understanding of rights
U.N.-funded children's books that explicitly promote children's rights
Poverty and children's and young adult literature
Colonialism/Postcolonialism and children’s and young adult literature
Citizenship and children's and young adult literature
Censorship and children's rights
Conflicts between child characters and adult characters over the child's rights and obligations

Essays should be sent to guest editors Lara Saguisag and Matthew B. Prickett at LU.RightsIssue@gmail.com by May 31, 2015. Submissions should be 15-20 pages (4000-6000 words). Accepted articles will appear in issue 40.2 (2016) of The Lion and the Unicorn.

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3. The 2014 National Children's Book Awards - Kids' Choice Award

The Philippines' 3rd National Children's Book Awards included a Kids' Choice Award! Five judges, ages 11-13, read picture books published in 2012 and 2013 and picked their top ten favorites. Below are the ten books and the kid judges' citations for the books. I have put their citations in boldface, but have not edited their writing in any other way!


Sandwich to the Moon
Written and illustrated by Jamie Bauza
Chikiting Books, 2013




Si Berting, ang Batang Uling
Written by Christopher S. Rosales
Illustrated by Aldy Aguirre

Lampara, 2013

I. together with the other judges chose 10 books that will be the top 10 finalists but i will only share our reasons why we chose "Sandwich to the Moon" & "Si Berting ang Batang Uling" as part of the Top 10 finalists because we think that younger readers will easily understand and relate to these books' content and also we think that the writers, as well as illustrators along with the publishing companies did a job well-done in writing, illustrating, and publishing the books in an entertaining, creative and inspirational way. I would like to congratulate sir Jaime Bauza, writer & illustrator of "Sandwich to the Moon" and L G & M Corporation. And congratulation also to sir Christopher Rosales as the writer, Aldy Aguirre as the illustrator of the book entitled "Si Berting ang Batang Uling" and Adarna House Inc. for publishing the book. Thank You!

By Carelle Ann Abanico



Pages 
Written by Javier T. Delfin
Illustrated by Gabi Dimaranan 
Bookmark, 2013

One of the 10 finalists for the Kids' Choice Award is a book entitled "Pages." It is written by Javier T. Delfin with illustrations by Gabi Dimaranan and published by The Bookmark, Inc. This book was chosen because of it's unique story. The very colourful drawings and pictures were also really cool. And the words were really simple and easy to understand.

By Pheonna Heart Ragasa




Sinemadyika

Written by
Lauren V. Macaraeg
Lampara, 2013


"Sine Madyika" written by Lauren V. Macaraeg, illustrations by Aldy Aguirre and published by Lampara Books is also a finalist. The story's creative way of telling us that everyone can have fun was really cool. We liked how the story showed us that even if Popoy was blind he still has a lot of fun.

By Pheonna Heart Ragasa



Pintong Maraming Silid
Written by Eugene Y. Evasco
Illustrated by Leo Kempis Ang
Chikiting Books, 2013



The Little Girl in a Box
Written by Felinda V. Bagas
Illustrated by Aldy Aguirre
Adarna House, 2013  

A pleasant afternoon to everyone.   First of all I would like to say thank you to everyone as a sign of my gratitude for this once in a lifetime privilege that you had given me. Being a part of this event was an extreme honor for a student like me. I hope that this event will be successful and I also hope that we judges, did our job well enough.

One of the two books that I had chosen was the “Pintong Maraming Silid”. One of the reasons why I had chosen this book was because of its simplicity. I loved the story line and how the story was stated. I also liked the illustrations and most of all, I loved the story because I easily understood it.

The other book that I had chosen was entitled “The Little Girl in a Box”. One of the reasons why I had chosen this book was because of its really good storyl ine. I loved how the story flows. It was precisely stated and it was very simple yet it was still good. I really, really enjoyed it.


By Jay Harold Odon



May Darating na Trak Bukas
Written by Virgilio S. Almario
Illustrated by Sergio Bumatay III
Adarna House, 2013

          May trak na darating bukas. Ano kaya ang kakaibang mga gamit na dala nito? Hindi basura kundi mga sorpresa at milagro. Sa tambak ng basurang ito ang luma ay ginagawang bago.

         Ang May Darating na Trak Bukas ay tungkol sa kung anong magagawa mo gamit ang iyong imahinasyon. Sa mata ng isang bata sa kwento, ang tambak ng basura ay may pakinabang. Nakakalikha siya ng isang kaharian, isang sasakyang panlakbay at isang aklatan. Imahinasyon lang ang kaniyang kailangan.

        Bukod sa magandang tula na isinulat, puno rin nang makulay at nakakatuwang mga guhit ang libro. Nakakaaliw siyang tingnan at basahin paulit-ulit. Hindi ka talaga masasawa.


By Miranda Villanueva



Ang Bonggang Bonggang Batang Beki!
Written by Rhandee Garlitos
Illustrated by Tokwa Peñaflorida
Chikiting Books, 2013

Ano ba ang ibig sabihin ng kulay pink? Kagandahan? Kababaihan? o katapangan?

       Ang pangunahing tauhan ng kwentong ito ay si Adel, isang batang lalaki na hindi katulad ng ibang mga batang lalaki. Mahilig siya sa kulay pink, manood ng teleserye at sumayaw habang kumakanta. Dahil dito, pinagtatawanan siya at tinatawag na Beki. Pero hindi ni Adel pinapansin ang mga tukso sa kaniya. Para sa kaniya, ang kulay pink ay simbolo ng katapangan.


         Pinili ko ang kwentong ito dahil sinasabi niya na iba’t-iba ang mga uri ng taong nasa mundo. Hindi rin tayo dapat mahiya sa sarili natin. Isa itong importanteng mensahe  na dapat malaman ng ating kabataan para maturuan silang tanggapin ang isa’t-isa.


By Miranda Villanueva 




The Day of Darkness

Written by Gutch Gutierrez and Zig Marasigan
Illustrated by Gutch Gutierrez
Bookmark, 2013
 
Come to a town where the people fear a beast so might that nobody dare come near. They hide in a cave at the full moon to prevent themselves to be eaten by a monster soon. When two kids venture out when the moon is high, do you think their end would be nigh?
 

The Day of Darkness is about standing up to your fear and conquering your you. This book tells us that some good people can turn sour at an instant and how some bad people can redeem themselves and become good.

By Amihan Ramos




Ang Ikaklit sa Aming Hardin

Written by Bernadette Villanueva Neri
Illustrated by CJ de Silva
Publikasyong Twamkittens, 2012

This is a story about a young girl who has two mothers instead of a father. Because of this, she gets bullied in class and only a few kids talk to her because they are also being bullied. This little girl loves to plant just like her mothers. This book teaches us not to bully others just because they are different or they grew up differently or their parents are different.  That it’s okay to be adopted. That it’s okay to be different.

By Amihan Ramos


Five different judges, ages 8-10, read the ten picture books above and chose one winner for the 2014 National Children's Book Awards - Kids' Choice Award. The winner is The Day of Darkness! Here is what the kid judges had to say about The Day of Darkness:

We like The Day of Darkness because it makes you believe that everything isn’t really scary. It can make you believe that sometimes, you can adapt to things and you don’t have to be so scared anymore. 

By Alonzo Cristobal

Congratulations to all the teams behind these books selected by young Filipino book lovers!

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4. Are schools teaching British values?

By Stephanie Olsen


In June, (now former) Education Secretary Michael Gove announced that all primary and secondary schools should promote “British values”. David Cameron said that the plans for values education are likely to have the “overwhelming support” of citizens throughout the UK. Cameron defined these values as “freedom, tolerance, respect for the rule of law, belief in personal and social responsibility and respect for British institutions”. ‪At root, such a policy gets at the emotional conditioning of children. To adhere to a certain ideological conceptualization of “freedom,” to feel “tolerant,” or to be “respectful” (whether of parents, teachers, authorities or institutions), is to act according to implicit feelings of rightness.

Values are never just abstract ideas, but are expressed and experienced through emotions. And they are not ideologically neutral. To stress the education of British values is to put a form of emotional education on the agenda. Though many commentators have pointed out that the broad outlines of such an education already exist in schools, the fear of “extremism”, of the promotion of the “wrong” sort of values, has triggered a vigorous debate. What has largely gone unrecognized in this debate, however, is that it is emphatically not new.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, politicians and educationalists promoted a new education based on character training and the emotions, precisely to build British citizens who would respect and uphold British institutions. This brand of education was to be accomplished at school, but also at home, and in religious and youth organizations.

Herbert Fisher, the President of the Board of Education who spearheaded the Education Act of 1918, argued that the masses should be educated “to stimulate civic spirit, to promote general culture … and to diffuse a steadier judgement and a better informed opinion through the whole body of the community.” Other educational commentators broadly agreed with this mission. Frederick Gould, a former Board School teacher and author of many books on education argued that “The community cannot afford to let the young people pass out with a merely vague notion that they ought to be good; it must frame its teaching with a decisive and clear vision for family responsibilities, civic and political duties”.

Michael Gove, by Paul Clarke, CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Michael Gove, by Paul Clarke, CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Civic duties – the civic spirit – were to be taught to the extent that they would become ingrained, implicit, felt. This was to be primarily a moral education. Educators stressed character training, linking moral education to British imperialism or nationalism in an unashamedly patriotic spirit. Education reform was to improve future citizens’ productivity and develop national character traits.

Like Gould, educator John Haden Badley stressed the need to teach active citizenship and service. Education on these lines would provide “a deeper understanding of the human values that give to life its real worth”, cultivating and maximizing the potential of a “superior” Britishness. Meanwhile, in a speech in Manchester in 1917, Fisher argued that “the whole future of our race and of our position in the world depends upon the wisdom of the arrangements which we make for education.” He observed, in language strikingly familiar to contemporary political rhetoric, that “we are apt to find that the wrong things are being taught by the wrong people in the wrong way.”

But even in 1917 the rhetoric was clichéd. A generation of commentators before Fisher argued that the civic shortfalls in mass formal education could be fixed by informal education in youth groups and religious organizations and through improved reading matter. Much juvenile and family literature, whether motivated politically or religiously, stressed emotional socialization, especially in the building of morality and character, as critical for national cohesion.

The trouble with visions of national cohesion, as the last century and a half of educational debate bears out, is the difficulty in getting any two parties to agree what that vision looks like. At the turn of the twentieth century all agreed that children mattered. How they were to be educated was important not just to individual children and their families, but equally importantly, to the community and the nation.

Yet some reformers had patriotic aims, others religious; some civic, some imperial; some conservative, others socialist. Many combined some or all of these aims. All, whether explicitly stated or not, wanted to train, instrumentalize and harness children’s emotions. Children’s reading matter, the stories they were told, and the lessons they heard were known to be powerful forces in cultivating the emotions. Hence the high stakes, then and now, on the narratives supplied to children.

Michael Gove, in common with his Victorian forebears, turns to the “great heroes of history” to serve as models of emulation. Back in the early 1900s, Gould thought history “the most vital of all studies for inspiration to conduct.” The study of history is certainly no stranger to being manipulated for didactic ends in order to impart “British values.”

While Gove is only the latest in a long line to link British history, British values and education, there are surely lessons to be learnt from past attempts and past failures to implement this strategy. A generation of boys and young men at the turn of the twentieth century had grown up learning the positive value of patriotic service. In this memorial year, marking a century since the outbreak of the First World War, it seems appropriate to reflect on what values we might want to instil in the young. What feelings do we want them to learn?

Stephanie Olsen is based at the history department, McGill University (Montreal) and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Center for the History of Emotions (Berlin). She was previously postdoctoral fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University. The co-author of Learning How to Feel: Children’s Literature and the History of Emotional Socialization, c. 1870-1970 she is currently working on children’s education and the cultivation of hope in the First World War.

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The post Are schools teaching British values? appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature: Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, Peter Sieruta

Book: Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature
Authors: Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter Sieruta
Pages: 288
Age Range: Adult Nonfiction

Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature is an insider's guide to the world of children's books and their creators, written by three well-known children's book bloggers. In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I have known Betsy Bird and Julie Danielson since my earliest days of blogging. While we've only met face to face a few times, I've read their blogs for years, and been on shared mailing lists and the like. I also read the late Peter Sieruta's blog, though I don't believe I ever had any direct contact with him. So you should consider my discussion of Wild Things! more along the lines of a recommendation than a critical review. I very much enjoyed the book. 

Wild Things! reveals the authors' deep affection for and knowledge of the field of children's literature. They discuss everything from the history of subversive children's literature to book banning to the ways that the Harry Potter books have affected the industry. This is the first book I've seen that openly discusses gay and lesbian authors of children's books, and how the outsider status of some of these authors may have affected their work. Like this:

"Unique perspectives yield unique books. It is difficult to be gay and not see the world in a way that is slightly different from that of your straight peers." (Page 54, ARC)

I especially enjoyed chapters on "scandalous mysteries and mysterious scandals" and "some hidden delights of children's literature." There's also an interesting discussion of the books critics love vs. the books that kids love. 

Despite covering a lot of ground, Wild Things! is a quick, engaging read. Though there are extensive end-notes citing sources, and it's clear that much research has been done, the book itself reads like a series of chatty essays written by friends. Wild Things! is full of interesting tidbits, like the extra pupil shown on one page of Madeline, and a rather disturbing claim by Laura that Pa Ingalls may have once encountered a serial killer. There are some resources that may help those new to thinking about children's books, such as a list of publications that review children's books. But for the most part, Wild Things! is a book that's going to appeal most to people who already have a reasonably solid grasp of the industry, and at least a passing familiarity with the key players. 

Wild Things! is not, however, insider-y in terms of the book blogging world. Because I've read so many posts by Betsy and Jules, there were certainly places where I could hear their distinct voices coming through. There are some fun sidebars in which all three authors briefly take on some question or author. But there is scant mention in the book of the authors' blogs themselves. The authors do muse a bit in the final chapter about the impact of cozy relationships between bloggers and authors, but for the most part they keep their emphasis on books and authors, and other people who have been instrumental in the evolution of the larger children's book world (like Ursula Nordstrom). They do include snippets of interviews with many authors and publishers, frequently backing up their own opinions with remarks from leaders in the field. 

Wild Things! is strong on the defense of the importance of children's literature (and fairly strong against message-driven celebrity books). Like this:

"And with every doctor, librarian, and early childhood educator telling us that childhood's importance is without parallel, it is baffling to see their literature condescended to, romanticized, and generally misunderstood." (Page 5 of the ARC)

"Childhood is not a phase to be disregarded; the same should be said of the books children read. They deserve well-crafted tales from the people who have the talent to write and illustrate them and who take their craft seriously. Do they need heavy-handed sermons from the latest celebrity "It" girl's newest children's book? Not so much." (Page 6)

I also loved this quote from A. A. Milne:

"Whatever fears one has, one need not fear that one is writing too well for a child, any more than one need fear that one is becoming almost too lovable." (Page 192)

Wild Things! is a book about the joy and quirkiness that is the field of children's literature. It is a celebration of books and their authors, and a defense of the importance of putting the very best possible books into children's hands. Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter Sieruta accomplish all of this by sharing stories and opinions, theirs and those of others, with the reader. Fans of children's books, be they authors, bloggers, teachers, librarians, parents, or just people who appreciate a good book, are sure to enjoy Wild Things! Recommended for adults and older teens (there is definitely content that is not for kids), and a must-purchase for libraries. Wild Things! is a keeper!

Publisher: Candlewick 
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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6. Have you ever ridden on a sea lion?

Miriam at Create Hope Inspire blog interviewed me about Rescue on Nim's Island this week.

 Her two young sons also had some great questions! Here are a couple:

Have you ever ridden on a sea lion?
What does a sea lion's fur feel like?
Wendy sent this gorgeous photo in answer to these rather funny questions!



Flip- 
Was the cake actually poisoned? What with?
It was actually poisoned. They used juice from rhubarb leaves, because that makes you very sick but probably wouldn't kill you.

Why was there a passage where Tiffany's foot got stuck?
Why was the hole joined to the bat's cave?
All the passages, tunnels and caves were formed in the mountain by water dripping or running through the limestone rock, and gradually dissolving it, so that bigger passages, tunnels and caves were formed. Of course this took many thousands of years! Also, any small earthquakes or rumbling through the mountain when the volcano erupted made new faults and cracks, so the water dripped down those and continued to erode the new holes in the tunnel or passage.

For the complete interview and Miriam's review, go to: Create Hope Inspire




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7. New date for the Philippine National Children's Book Day Fair!


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8. The 2014 National Children's Book Day Fair


July 15, 2014 is the Philippines' 31st National Children's Book Day! The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is celebrating by organizing a children's book fair at Museo Pambata, Roxas Boulevard corner South Drive, Manila. The following publishers and organizations are participating in the fair:

Adarna House
Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang InK)
Anvil Publishing Inc.
The Center for Art, New Ventures and Sustainable Development (CANVAS) 
Dream Big Books
Hiyas
Lampara Books
LG&M Chikiting Books
Save the Children Philippines
Tahanan Books 

At a stage area, publishers will present their latest children's books through different kinds of performances, games, and even cooking demonstrations! Booths at the fair will sell children's books, children's magazines, and art for children. There will be discounts, giveaways, face painting, a drawing/coloring corner, storytelling sessions, and book signings and meet & greets with authors and illustrators.

See you all on July 15 (Tuesday), from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Museo Pambata for the 2014 National Children's Book Day Fair!

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9. take the “am I ready for an agent?” quiz

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen


You’ve seen those wedding dress shows, right? A bride-to-be goes on a chiffon frenzied quest for the perfect gown while a group of her BFFs sit semi-circled in the salon, waiting to boo-hoo or just boo over her selection. Once in a while, though, the hunter is simply a bride-wanna-be who is willing to throw gobs of moola at a dress, despite her groomlessness. To me, that seems sad, desperate, and at the very least, poorly timed.

When it comes to writers in search of an agent, sometimes it’s really not that different. There’s a time to focus solely on craft, to learning about the industry, reading and networking. But, if this has not yet resulted in a solid, polished product to sell, why would you spend time looking for an agent to represent you?

Let’s say, however, maybe you’re like me, and you’ve been polishing, learning and preparing for quite a spell and you’re wondering if seeking an agent would be a wise next step.Take this quiz to help you decide if you’re agent-ready:

True or False?

____I have at least one thoroughly polished, market-ready manuscript and more in progress.

____I am an active member of a professional organization for writers, such as SCBWI, and follow industry-related blogs, tweets and newsletters to stay current.

____I have a good understanding of the inner-workings of the children’s publishing industry (e.g., the role of publishers, editors, agents, reviewers and authors, the editorial and submission process, how a manuscript becomes a published book, etc.).

____I have sold articles or stories to respected children’s magazines, such as Highlights for Children and/or perhaps even come close to selling a book to a traditional publisher on my own.

____I am actively building a platform via my own web site or blog, as well as social media.

____I am a member of a critique group and/or have a critique partner and/or have received professional critiques from agents or editors.

____I have gone from receiving unsigned form rejection letters to more of the “champagne” variety (personalized notes or letters offering a specific explanation as to why the editor chose to pass on my submission or perhaps offering constructive feedback or an invitation to submit more in the future).

____I understand the role and benefits of an agent, as well as my role as a client.

____I have compiled a list of the qualities and qualifications I am seeking in an agent.

____I have done marketing research to determine where my book fits in the current market and what makes it stand out from similar works. I can explain this in my “elevator pitch” (and I know what an elevator pitch is!)

____I am prepared and enthusiastic to shift from solo writer mode into the role of a professional with a business partner (an agent) so that I can pursue all aspects of a writing career.

____I understand agents, while amazing, do not possess supernatural powers and cannot be expected to read minds, make me stinking rich or fulfill every literary success fantasy I can conjure.

How’d you do?

If you answered with 10 or more “True” responses, consider seeking a literary agent to represent you.

If you answered with 6 to 9 “True” responses, you’re getting closer!

If you answered with 5 or fewer “True” responses, that’s okay. Keep writing, seeking feedback, and using this list as a guide to help prepare yourself to become agent material.

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

All things are ready, if our mind be so. ~ William Shakespeare, Henry V


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10. Nancy

There’s been a lot of hiding around here lately.

sheet hiding

A blog post about ME is hiding over at Peace, Love, and Whiskers. Pop over and check it out, if you haven’t already.

plw2014blog

The other day, I saw this…

red balloon

It’s an evil, runaway, red balloon. It’s hiding under the car, waiting to roll out and get me. Mom let me walk by really fast, because she knows that balloons are trying to kill me.

white balloons

And look what’s back there! Two more balloons. White ones. I know what they have planned…

That's close enough...

That’s close enough…

I have no plans to start liking balloons, but I want to thank my friend Little Binky for sending me this lovely award. I am not afraid of it.

100,000+hit+award+%231

Do you see what else is hiding? In the grass? A feather. It’s from the birds that sit in the trees and laugh at me.

feather

All kinds of things are hiding in all kinds of places. When I try to hide, I always get caught. The other day, I brought my tiny yellow dog and hid on Mom’s bed with it. Somehow, she found out that I was in there.

messy bed

I don’t know how she does it! She’s a regular Nancy Drew when it comes to figuring things out.

When she was little, Mom was probably Nancy Drew’s biggest fan. She read every one of the Nancy Drew Mysteries, and hung on every word.

nancy

Now that she’s a writer, she hardly ever writes mysteries. She wrote one once, and when it was finished, she said, “Ugh. This thing is so lame.” And “Where’s the suspense, the red herring, the foreshadowing!?” and “Seriously? You’re back on the bed again?”

Who? Me??

Who? Me??

Mom might BE Nancy Drew, and LOVE Nancy Drew, but she has no plans to WRITE Nancy Drew.

 

 


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11. Inspirational Quote of the Week

Visualize this thing you want. See it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint and begin. Robert Collier

visualize Visualizing is an important part of a writer’s journey. Mom always visualized opening a letter of acceptance. She walked herself through every bit of how it would feel. The envelope – the weight of it, the uncertainty – that wiggly feeling in the tummy, the zipping it open – the rough edges, and the finally knowing – somebody said yes. Over and over for years and years, she saw it, felt it, and believed it. mailbox But guess what. When her first story was sold, no letter came. Her publisher called her on the phone and left a message! phone That being said, Mom still visualizes getting an acceptance letter. Over and over. Every detail. Every single day. She says, “This will happen.” and “It can’t hurt.” and “What is going on in that tiny brain of yours?”

thinking

What time is dinner?

I visualize, too, of course.

What time is dinner?

What time is dinner?

I see and feel and believe in tons of treats, piles of toys, toys long walks, and playtime that never ends. walking   My mental blueprint shows how I will get onto the table, into the garbage, out the window, and through the door. photo 3 My brain may be tiny, but it’s busy all the time. Visualizing…..

What time is dinner?

What time is dinner?


10 Comments on Inspirational Quote of the Week, last added: 5/27/2014
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12. Hopeful Sharing

Mom likes sharing. She shares her stories with kids of all ages, every time she goes to an author visit.

school visit

She also shares her new stories with agents and editors . Sometimes she shares poems and ideas with her friends.

Whenever my friend Lila comes to see me, I share my toys with her lila and toy and she shares her mom with me. v and c Whenever we visit the veterans’ home, Mom shares me with the old soldiers who miss their old pets. va friend

And Mom even shares me with the kids at the library when we work at Read-to-a-Pet-Night.

Who wants to read me a story?

Who wants to read me a story?

On Sundays, Mom sends my picture in to the local weather lady, who shares it with the viewing audience for Big Dog Sunday on TV.

Every Wednesday night, Mom helps me take an #idolselfie to send in to American Idol.

#idolselfie

JLo, Harry, and me! #idolselfie

She thinks it’s time to share me with a bigger audience. They haven’t put me on Idol so far, but we’re hopeful.

Book #1

Book #1

If Mom ever gets the elusive Book #2 published, she will share with a bigger audience. Nothing, so far, but we’re hopeful.


10 Comments on Hopeful Sharing, last added: 5/19/2014
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13. The Great Critique

Giving and receiving critiques on your writing is one of the most helpful and necessary parts of the process. I value my critique group beyond any other writing tools I have. They let me know what works and what doesn't, when something I thought was crystal clear is not, and when my characters are acting out of character. They offer encouragement and cheerleading.

Not only has constant critique made me a better writer, it has made me a more professional writer. When I receive notes from agents, editors, and other professionals, I am able to receive the notes with a professional calmness. I don't get defensive. I get revising.

I hope everyone who writes is able to find a group or a few trusted beta readers who can offer valuable critique, but I know that there are quite a few writers in our SCBWI region (Utah and southern Idaho) who may not even know any other writers in their community. Or perhaps they don't know how to get a group started. Or have never critiqued anyone else's work and feel inadequate.


That is why we started a region-wide event called The Great Critique. We give you the opportunity to meet with other children's writers in your area and critique away. On one day, August 9, we all meet throughout the region, helping each other become better writers (and illustrators--they get to participate as well!). During the summer, you'll receive excerpts from manuscripts by the others registered in your area. You'll read them, prepare comments, and then meet in August for live critiquing. And if you don't have a meeting close by, we offer an online location as well. This event is FREE, and we hope you take advantage of it.

In addition, if you wish to have a critique from a publishing house editor or an agent, you can register for that through our web site. And for an extra bonus, you can get a professional query critique.

You'll find all the details on our registration page. So there are no excuses. Sign up NOW. Registration is open until June 15.


by Neysa CM Jensen
your regional advisor for SCBWI
(I live in Boise, Idaho, but don't hold that against me.)

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14. Children’s Book Week Giveaway Hop

CBW-Kid-Lit-Giveaway-Hop-2014-Banner-FINAL-1024x296

We have joined the Kid Lit Giveaway Hop hosted by Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews again this year to celebrate children’s book week and give away some awesome prizes.  This year we are giving away two great prize packs containing four children’s paperbacks and a $10 Amazon gift card to each winner.

20140511_131307_resized

 

You can enter by going to our Facebook page and entering during May 12-18.  There are over 80 other bloggers participating with lots of other prizes that include children/teen’s books, gift cards, cash and other prizes so check out the list and get your entries in.

ENTER NOW -a Rafflecopter giveaway

Powered by Linky Tools Click here to view the complete list of participating bloggers and authors…


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15. Another Take on Diversity in Kid Lit

Recently our blogger Yamile wrote about including diversity in our books for children. One of her great points was to make the character of ethnicity the hero or heroine rather than the sidekick.

I'd like to continue with that topic as I am currently working on a picture book to help young children understand how to approach people with physical disabilities.

There aren't a lot of books that include differently abled leads, but (UCW's own) Julie Daines' book, "Unraveled" offers young readers a heroine whose legs are crippled. Daines said that she wanted to provide a love story without the perfect princess-type heroine.

Frankly, I'm surprised there aren't more heroes and heroines with such issues. Not only does it increase understanding of diversity in readership, but in the most clinical of writing terms, it can be very useful to the drama of the story as it adds another layer of difficulty with which the character must contend.

Another tough, but useful, subject is long-term illness in children.

Lupus is a topic dear to my heart (in the interest of full disclosure, I am the board chair of the Lupus Foundation of America, Utah Chapter). And I get to interact with some of our youth who are dealing with this disease. They are bright, enthusiastic, and overburdened--trying to balance the regular social interactions and school with fatigue and other health-related complications.

Lupus causes flares and remissions of widely variable time frames--sometimes within the same day. This is difficult for a lot of adults to understand. But kids are often labeled by their peers as "fakers"; symptoms ebb and wane, affecting different parts of the body at different times, and fatigue is always lurking in the background.

So, while I add a rousing cheer to Yamile's great post and remind you, our UCW blog readers, to consider diversity of all kinds in your lead characters, allow me one latitude (I promise to only take the blog sideways ONCE this year):

Tomorrow is the Walk to End Lupus Now in Salt Lake City's Liberty Park.
I invite you to join us. Walk. People watch. And see some really heroic characters.
www.utahlupus.org












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16. Five Word Friday

Today’s 5 words are about rest.

1. Couch-Nap – I like a good couch-nap. When Mom leaves me alone, the couch is my napping area of choice. Also the floor, my bed, the rocking chair,

couchnap

 

and the butterfly rug in the bathroom.

butterfly nap

2. Street-Nap – In the summer the asphalt in my neighborhood gets blazing hot. Those are the perfect days for a street-nap. I lie on my belly and my side and sometimes I flip over and squiggle around like a wiggly worm.

street squiggle

Aaahhhh…

3. Laziness – Mom has been kind of lazy lately. She hasn’t been sitting at her computer and talking to herself! That means no writing in a few days. I thought she was a “full-time” writer. This week, she’s been a writer at rest.

Z-z-z-z-z-...

Z-z-z-z-z-…

4. Excuses – She makes excuses like, “I have an appointment.” and “I’m swamped. It’s a super-busy day.” and “How can I write if you drink all my coffee?” I can make excuses, too. “You left your cup right where I can reach it.”

drinking

and “I couldn’t decide which toy to play with.”

and “I was lonely eating in the kitchen by myself.”

5. Back-on-the-horse – Yesterday, Mom sat at her computer and said she was getting back on the horse. I have never seen a horse. Mom saw one in Manhattan and showed me the picture. It looked like a big dog. A really, really, REALLY big dog. I hope she doesn’t love that big guy more than she loves me.

horse

Woof!

 


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17. Press Release: Freelance Artist Wins Alcala


The 2014 PBBY-Alcala Prize was won by freelance artist Aaron Paul Asis. Asis based his winning entry on one of the 2014 PBBY-Salanga honorable mention awardees, “Gaano Ba Kalayo Patungong Paaralan?” by Genaro Gojo Cruz.

According to this year’s judges, Asis’ illustrations “depict the intimacy between two brothers, but their visual closeness does not prevent the viewer from imagining the expanse of the outside world and feeling the anticipation for tomorrow’s journey to school.”


Garnering honorable mention this year are artists Jericho Angelo Moral and Jason Gabriel Sto. Domingo. Click here to see Moral's and Sto. Domingo's illustrations. All three artists are members of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang InK), a professional organization for children’s book artists.

Asis shall receive twenty-five thousand pesos, a medal, and an opportunity to be published. Prizes will be awarded during the National Children’s Book Day ceremonies on July 15, 2014.


For inquiries about the contest, please contact the PBBY Secretariat at telephone number 352-6765 loc. 203 or e-mail pbby@adarna.com.ph.

0 Comments on Press Release: Freelance Artist Wins Alcala as of 5/4/2014 10:07:00 AM
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18. Inspirational Quote of the Week

Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway.
Mary Kay Ash

I would like to fly. Sometimes, I fly around my house – from the floor to the bed and from the ottoman to the sofa and from the chair to the door.

flying

But I’m not allowed to fly outside. If I could, I’d fly up into the trees to catch birds and squirrels.

photo1

They are up there laughing at me, so flying would come in handy to put a stop to that.

Mom writes picture books. But sometimes, she goes outside her comfort zone to write other things. Once she wrote a non-fiction story, but she hated it – ALMOST as much as she hated doing the research for it. She said, “This is too much like work.” and “I dread writing time.” and “You cannot climb a tree – you’re a dog, not a bear.”

photo3

Last weekend, Mom wrote a song. Her friend needed a little pre-k song for graduation, so Mom made it up and sang it out loud to herself over and over and over and over and over. She said, “That was easier than I thought.” and “I didn’t know I could write a song.” and “You cannot climb a tree – you’re a dog, not a bear.”

photo4

Sometimes we need to go out of our comfort zones and TRY to see what we really can do. Mom is no Paul McCartney, but she wrote a song. I may not be a bear, but if Mom would unclip my leash for 5 seconds, I think I can climb a tree. After all, bumblebees fly….

photo2


10 Comments on Inspirational Quote of the Week, last added: 4/28/2014
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19. Billy and the Monsters Who Ate All the Easter Eggs Giveaway

Today, I’d like to share with you the chance to win a signed copy of the Amazon Best-seller ‘Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs’ by British Author David Chuka who is a friend of mine.Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs

With Easter around the corner, this book will be a welcome addition to your loved ones library.

This is the third book in the Billy and Monster series and it has gotten about 48 glowing reviews on the Amazon website.

Before I reveal how you can enter to win a signed copy, let’s find out what happens with Billy and Monster in this Easter edition.

Billy and Monster love all the holidays as they get to spend quality time together. However, their best holiday is Easter as they get to eat their favorite food…CHOCOLATE!

This year, they’re spending Easter with Grandma Chocalicious who loves Chocolate even more than Billy. She’s an expert at making chocolate cake, chocolate waffles and even chocolate pasta.

This year Grandma Chocalicious has made a pyramid of Easter eggs for her party on Easter Sunday. Billy and Monster want one of the Easter eggs but Grandma says they have to wait till Easter Sunday.

What happens when Billy and Monster tip toe downstairs and the pyramid of Easter eggs comes falling down?

For a chance to find out what happens simply click the link below and you could very well have your signed copy just in time for Easter.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs by David Chuka

Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs

by David Chuka

Giveaway ends April 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


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20. Countdown Wednesday

Today, Mom and I are counting down about advice.

Advice I Get

3. Be Quiet – Mom says this word when the mailman comes. Ditto the FedEx and UPS guys. She clearly does not know these people are here to kill me. I must sound the alarm.

2. Don’t pull – Mom tells me this word when I am smelling delicious things outside, and checking my pee-mail. She clearly does not know that if I don’t quickly eat the goose candies in the grass, one of my dog friends might get them and I will miss out.

muddy

1. Fetch it – It took me a long time to understand this advice. I finally learned what it means. For any of my friends struggling with fetching, the secret to it is the bring-back. Do not get the ball, bring it on the couch, and try to hatch it like an egg.

fetch

Nailed it. Wait. What??

That is apparently not fetching. Bring it back to Mom and GET A TREAT. That’s fetching.

Advice Mom Gets

3. Add Conflict – People don’t like conflict. Especially Mom. But in a story, conflict is good. So are suspense, action, problems, unexpected obstacles, surprises, and other kinds of trouble. I like trouble.

broken barrel

I don’t think the monkey will pop out of the barrel and laugh at me anymore…. RIP laughing monkey.

2. Find Your Voice – Each time she starts a new story (at least once a month), Mom has to find her picture book voice. Voice helps the book sound unique and different from other books. Voice shows Mom’s characters looking at the world in their own special way.

shadow

1. Focus on Character – Mom usually writes stories that are plot, plot, plot. Lately, she is trying to take the advice she’s received about developing character, character, character. Susanna Hill’s Picture Book Magic class helped her a lot with that. Now Mom can get to know her characters before they start living in her story.

sunshine-award

 

Speaking of living, two of my bloggy friends gave me the Sunshine Award, recently. I think it’s the perfect time of year for this award, since the snow is finally gone, and any minute now, the sun will shine and I will take a street nap.

street nap

A big, sunny thank you to Collies of the Meadow and The Squeak Life for sharing this prize with me. If you feel like you need a smile, visit them. They’re a guaranteed giggle. And if you want to celebrate the sunshine, take this award and post it to your own blog.


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21. Almost…

April-Calendar-2014-PDF

Spring is almost here. I mean it’s here on the calendar, but in real life, not so much. Mom and I look for flowers outside, but we’re not seeing a whole lot.

daffodil1

Almost there…not quite…

The grass is still kind of brownish and slime-ish in spots. And the wind still turns my ears upside down.

daffodil4

Also, the rain has Mom bringing out my raincoat every couple of days. April showers and all that….

rainy

Real, actual spring – street nap spring – takes longer to happen, I guess.

street rest

Chilly tummy.

Stories take longer than expected sometimes, too. The calendar says we’re 10 days into the month, but we’re not seeing much of Mom’s April manuscript. The idea is still brownish and slime-ish, and wind and rain in Mom’s head are slowing down the progress. Her ears aren’t upside down or anything, but I’m hearing an awful lot of “Here we go.” and not an awful lot of, “Yay. I’m finished.”

I think the rain wetting the soil and the wind flying the seeds all around are putting down the groundwork for the real season.

This is definitely a sign of spring...

This is definitely a sign of spring…

Like the rain and the wind, mind-writing and planning are putting down the groundwork for Mom’s story. The daffodils are starting to pop. I hope Mom’s story will pop soon, too.

daffodils bloom

 

 


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22. Children’s Book Week Kid Lit Giveaway Hop 2014!

CBW Kid Lit Giveaway Hop 2014 - Banner - FINAL

Are you a children’s book or teen literature blogger, an author, a publisher, or a publicist looking to share copies of a fabulous book? Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews are joining forces to provide you with the opportunity to take part in a Blog Hop featuring links to giveaways for fabulous children/teen’s books, gift cards, cash, or other prizes. What better way to celebrate Children’s Book Week?

 

How Does it Work?

Dates: May 12 to 18, 2014

  • Posts must go live at 12:01AM (EST) on May 12, 2014
  • Giveaway must end on May 18, 2014 @ 11:59PM (EST)

(If using Rafflecopter, set your widget to end on MAY 19th at 12:00am)

Cost: FREE!

Prize: Children/Teen’s Book and/or a Gift Card

If your prize consists of a book, it must be one appropriate for children/youth under the age of 18. You can also offer an Amazon gift card, a credit at the Book Depository, or PayPal cash as a prize (minimum $10) in conjunction with a book OR in lieu of a book, but your post MUST discuss children’s books or literature. Links to posts just offering a gift card or cash with no mention of children/teen’s books or literature will be removed from the linky list. If unsure, email me!

Posting Requirements:

Posts must be published no later than May 12, 12:01 am, 2014 ~ Posting early is ok. Posting late is not ok.

Your post must contain the following information (clearly visible):

  • Event Button
  • Giveaway Details
  • Links to the Hostesses (Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews)
  • Giveaway Linky List

The event button, links to hostesses, and linky code will be emailed to you on Monday, May 5, 2014.

Please send me your direct URL once your post goes live, or if possible you can send me your permalink ahead of time. Failure to send me your link within 24 hours of the start of the Giveaway Hop will result in the removal of your link from the linky. If you send me the direct link after the 24 hours deadline, it will be added to the bottom of the list.

Adding a Link to the Linky:

To enter the Giveaway Hop, you simply have to enter the home page of your website followed by the country restrictions (i.e., Who can enter? US; US/CAN; WW; other). Once your post is ready you can send me the permalink as described above.

Deadline for Sign-Ups: May 9, 11:59 pm (EST), 2014

The linky will close and no additional links will be accepted.

Promoting the Kid Lit Giveaway Hop

We need YOUR help in spreading the word about the Kid Lit Giveaway Hop. You are certainly not required to do anything other than sign up if you wish to participate, but we would sure appreciate your help by either posting about the sign-ups, tweeting about it, or sharing the information within your circles or even popping the event button up in your sidebar. We are also happy to provide you with the full post HTML code if you would be willing to post about this sign-up. Just email Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews. The more sign-ups the better for all of us!

Questions?

Please feel free to contact either Renee [renee (at) motherdaughterbookreviews (dot) com] or Katie [YouthLitReviews (at) live (dot) com]. We are here to answer any questions you may have.

Sign-Up Below

You will be asked to enter the title you want displayed in the linky list (please add country restrictions in brackets), a link to your home page (or direct URL if you have it), and your name and email address.

* Like our fancy event banner? We used designbox1 from Fiverr to create it. Ask me about it!*


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23. Latino authors - NYRB's white-washed Children's Classics


This is our third post about New York Review of Books' omitting latino books from their Children's Classics list. Several authors from the Latino and Latina Writers Group(LinkedIn) commented and are excerpted below.

When we contacted NYRB, their response was that they didn't know of any latino children's books that should be on their list. That ignorance resulted in a white-washed list. By their definition, there are no latino classics in this category.

Comments by latino authors:

Kathleen Alcala, Permanent Faculty at NILA and Author:
I don't write children's books, but some of the best I have come across are now published and distributed by Lee and Low Books. Many of our top-notch Latino/a writers have also written children's books. NYRB could probably take the time to do the research.
                       
Maria Victoria, Bilingual Author, Editor & Ghostwriter
I do write children's books, I have written them for years for my sons and now for my grandchildren, but only now I am starting to self-publish those stories via Createspace (Amazon). I don't have the time to wait for the industry to embrace our diversity. When I tuck my little ones in bed, I want them to be proud of their Mexican heritage and who they are: beautiful bilingual and bicultural children.

Mona AlvaradoFrazier, Independent Writing and Editing Professional:
Latinas for Latino Lit started last year in response to articles such as NYRB's. Pat Mora has a large list on her website and Reading is Fundamental has a list of multicultural books.

I blog about multicultural books because I believe it takes Latinos supporting Latinos to make these books visible; there are other bloggers doing the same. I beta-read for Latina/o authors because I want to help get them published. We all can do something. Currently, I have two Young Adult novels completed and am looking for an agent. I have one manuscript (protagonist is Mexican,17-year-old mother in prison) with Amazon's Breakthrough Novel competition. They had 10,000 entries, and whittled this to 2,000 (I made this round). On April 14th, Amazon will again cut 1500 entries. I'm hoping my YA novel makes the next round and that I can attract an agent.

Maria Victoria [above] is so right; it's difficult to continue to wait for "the industry" and the "literary gatekeepers," but it also takes funds to publish your own novel (approx. $2,000 to 5,000). I may take that route soon.

Lucha Corpi, Independent Writing and Editing Professional
I've written stories and poems for children, and a couple have been published in the Houghton Mifflin Spanish elementary series, for example, and other pubs. I've also written bilingual picture books--one published by Children's Book Press in S.F., now an imprint of Lee & Low's in NY, another by Arte Publico Press Piñata imprint.

When writing for a classroom series, you're given a list of rules/taboos as to what you can and cannot do or say, i.e. working in the fields OK, but you can't mention of La Migra or living conditions for children of migrant families, etc. After a while, I wasn't willing to write for hire when major publishers dictated what I could write or not about. I can control when and where I publish to make sure my books outlive me.

As a translator of stories for children, however, I had a chance to read English texts of world oral and literary traditions. I confirmed that in all the stories chosen for certain grades, there were common threads that made the stories "universal" and which I call the "human element," in general. We can't deny ourselves our rightful place in this universal culture. Perhaps in some honest and sincere way, a few major publishers want stories that can be sewn together into the larger tapestry of human experience. I don't find anything wrong with showing all the ways in which people from all cultures are simply human, whose literatures have many points of contact along those "universal" lines.

I also believe that as Chic@nos/Latin@s, we are part of a second universe--Mexico and Latin America, and of Latin@ culture. Each is unique in its own historical and cultural way, but socio-politically regarded as disposable once our use to White America is no longer important, desirable or necessary. Major publishers are not willing to publish literature that is "in their face," (about La migra, children of migrant families, etc.) that mirrors all the ways in which they have failed one of the culturally and linguistically richest and most diverse groups in the U.S.

Chicano/Latino publishers have been publishing that literature of resistance and protest, talking about taboo subjects to the extent they can. They have had to battle constantly to remain and help our literatures grow. However we may feel personally about them, we have to remember that theirs hasn't been a road paved with gold, either. So we need to support their efforts and buy their books directly from them instead of Amazon, etc. Most of the time, all we do is criticize them or tear them down, not realizing that when we don't buy their books, we are also hurting the same writers we're talking about here.

As a student of "classic" literature and the literary establishment throughout the ages, one last point about the word "classic" in literature or any of the arts. Ironically, the classics are those works, which were "popular" when their creators were alive, though they made no money from their popularity. They became "classics" when their creators had been dead at least 50 years.

I follow two rules: I do my job as a writer, and write, regardless of criticism or circumstance, and I make sure I publish with publishers who may not pay big bucks in royalty, but who will keep my books in print long after I depart this vale of literary tears. I buy and read books published by Chican@/Latin@ presses, and in general support writers and poets this way.

Who knows? One of these years, one of your poems or a story for children, or one of your books might become a classic. True that, if what I say is right, you won't be here any longer to enjoy the renown and the rewards and fruits of your labor.

Felipe de Ortego y Gasca, Scholar in Residence, Western New Mexico University:
It's not just the NYRB (with whom I have a long-standing peeve--since 1973 when it rejected my piece about Chicanos in favor of an Anglo piece about Chicanos by John Womack).

The real problem, however, is with the American Library Association and its annual awards for children's literature. Talk about a dearth! Armando's commentary should be a clarion call for American publishers.

Thanks to Arte Público for the children's books they've published.

Ideologically, we should not expect écrit oblige [great works] from myopic American publishers. Just as the history of the lion hunt will always favor the hunter until lions have their own historians, publishing will always favor the dominant group until Latinos have their own publishers. Hasta la victoria!

Armando Rendón, Editor of Somos en Escrito Magazine:
I gather we’re not getting too agitated about the NYRB list--Rudy has hit the main points in his response to Sara Kramer. My take is that we consider the context, a bastion of white privilege revisiting its own past, but largely unaware and painfully unconcerned with the present reality of millions of Chicanos and Latinos preparing to make our future. If any of us expect entities like the NYRB to empower us to advance in our art and yet maintain our integrity, that’s barking up the wrong ancestral tree.

We as American writers of a certain perspectiva must move on, concern ourselves with writing for the present generation, but having in mind the needs of millions of Latino youth to come. I refer to the critical need for us as writers to provide literary sustenance for the Latino and Latina youth who have already become the majority of first to 12th grade populations in New Mexico (57%), California (51%), Texas (51%), with Arizona (43%), Nevada (40%), and Colorado (30%) not that far behind. The number of literary works written each year for Latino youth is dreadfully low, maybe 2 to 3 percent of children’s books published each year in the U.S.

One cause we can address directly: Latina and Latino writers, established and aspiring, should direct some of their time and talents to writing for young people. My focus as a newcomer to writing for young people is on middle and high school youth because I can craft stories for them of my own recollections. Others might have the insight and mental dexterity to fashion those delightful little tales that can help form the imaginations and identity of toddlers and early school children.

Which causes me to reflect on an important insight that I read in one of the letters to the editor that appeared on 3/23/14, after the NYRB published its 100 best list. The correspondent, who hailed from the Bronx, wrote that a “well-written book …should represent humanity, and readers should be able to find something of themselves in it – no matter the protagonists’ background or color.” A fine point, one that exemplifies the finest literary works anywhere.
           
However, this notion taken to its logical extreme suggests that all books could be about white Anglo Saxon men, and that would be okay as long as we others could find “something” of ourselves in the text. That’s exactly the attitude that led to the present “lack of diversity,” or to be explicit, the racism by omission in children’s literature.

What I’ve come to realize is that writing for children today is a political act. Taking the word, political, to its ancient Greek root, polis, which stood for the state, the confluence of people who together make up a society. It follows from the converse reality that teachers, librarians, scholars, and parents face: the absolute dearth of books written for and about Latino boys and girls in the U.S. Thus, limiting the presence of Latino and Latina children in books for school kids is a political act, driven by generations of discrimination, oppression and racism.

Final point: while we need more books for Latino youth, we need to set and uphold certain literary standards. Is anyone taking on the task of drafting a set of guidelines appropriate to writing aimed at Latino children, a gathering of Latino writers, educators and librarians with an understanding of the pedagogical, emotional and intellectual/creative needs for these ages? Such a document could be a useful guideline for all of us, even eye-opening for the gatekeepers over at the NYRB.

More salient comments, Lucha. To pick up on one of the things you said, about writing for posterity. When you consider, for example, that in Texas, my home state (no apologies), the school population in 2050 if not earlier will reach 9 million and 6 of those millions will be Latino, we have to think for the future: what we write today will impact millions of kids, and not just Chicanitos but any child from the standpoint of opening up a vision of the world that's multicultural and multicolorful. Adelante!

(Rendón is also the author of the young adult novel, Noldo and his magical scooter at the Battle of the Alamo, which was just named a finalist for an International Latino Book Award.)

Barbara Renaud Gonzalez informed us about her book, The boy made of lightning, the first interactive book on the life of Voting Rights pioneer Willie Velasquez, independently published by AALAS, 9/2013. Original narrative, art, music, sounds and written in Tex-Mex, with pop-ups and translation; it was nominated for a Tomas Rivera Prize.

Also pertaining to this discussion, see Matt de la Peña's thoughts in the article, Where's the African-American Harry Potter or the Mexican Katniss?


Acevedo strikes again

Good Money Gone, a novel co-authored by Mario Acevedo, is a finalist in the International Book Awards. Also, Mario’s essay, "Love Between the Species", has just been published in Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror (L. Lamson, edit.), a rare and revealing look at the writing secrets of speculative genre masters.

Es todo, hoy,
RudyG

Author FB - rudy.ch.garcia
Twitter - DiscardedDreams

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24. Author Visits

Mom has two author visits coming up. One this week and one next week. Both are call-backs, so she kind of knows what to expect. One thing she expects is fun! Rejection is the downside of writing. School visits are the upside AND her most favorite thing about being an author. Bar none.

school visit

Fifth graders and college students make for very different visits, which means Mom will pack up her school visit stuff  TWICE. I love when Mom packs up her bag.

bookbag2

Sometimes there are candies in there. Or gum. Or tissues.  And sometimes stuffed toys, depending on where she’s visiting. I ALWAYS check the bag out, just in case.

bookbag

Once I found (and ran with) a smaller bag from inside the bigger bag. It had a fork, a beanie baby, a paintbrush, and a baseball inside. Mom said, “I need them for a game.” and “You wouldn’t understand.” and “Eeeewww. They’re slimy with dog spit!”

gamebag2

Although I love the bag, I hate the leaving. Why does every upside need a downside? When Mom says, “I have to go,” I hear the word GO and head for the door.

Ready!

Ready!

She says, “Not this time.” and “I’ll be back in a little while.” and “Do you want a treat?” which is EXACTLY what I want. And that’s how the downside becomes the upside again.

milkbone toothbrush

 


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25. Free tickets to see Andrea Davis Pinkney!

2014 Arbuthnot Lecturer Andrea Davis Pinkney

Andrea Davis Pinkney (image courtesy of Scholastic)

ALSC and the University of Minnesota Libraries, Children’s Literature Research Collections (CLRC) would like to remind the public that tickets for the 2014 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture featuring Andrea Davis Pinkney are available.

The lecture, entitled “Rejoice the Legacy!,” will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at Willey Hall on the campus of the University of Minnesota. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. A reception and signing will follow the event. Required tickets are free for the lecture and must be obtained through the University of Minnesota website. To learn more about acquiring tickets, please visit the 2014 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture website.

The May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture is sponsored by ALSC. The lecture title honors May Hill Arbuthnot, distinguished writer, editor and children’s literature scholar. Each year, an author, artist, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature is selected to prepare a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children’s literature.

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2014 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture With Andrea Davis Pinkney
University of Minnesota Libraries, Children’s Literature Research Collections
Saturday, May 3, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (CDT)
Minneapolis, Minnesota

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